Jay Heizenburg wrote:It also gives some perspective on addressing the "I" in the "IRAC." I say that because I slightly and respectively disagree with the whole "Issue Statement" approach proffered above.
I didn't listen to the podcast because I'm at work, but I wouldn't say that the method of essay writing which has become very popular in this thread is the only way to write a good essay, far from it.
However, to my mind the issue-focused method is a good way to break the essays down into manageable, bite-sized portions, and also makes things easier on the grader, which can't hurt.
For me, as someone who struggles with writing, especially when I am staring at a totally white space with time pressure, this method was perfect. For other people, who don't have the same challenges as I do, other essay writing methods are probably better.
All that really matters in my opinion is that you (the general you, not specifically you Jay Heizenburg) have trained and prepared yourself, using whatever method or style works for you, so that on test day you are not simply relying on your general writing skills, or hoping to 'rise to the occasion.'
There is a great moment in the mini-series and book "Generation Kill," where Rolling Stone reporter Evan Wright is dodging sniper fire. He runs for cover from the sniper "in a serpentine fashion," because at the moment when he started running, all he could think of was a line from a movie called "The-in Laws," where Peter Falk tells another character to "run in a serpentine fashion" when coming under enemy fire.
Running in a straight line as fast as possible is much more conducive to living than running in a serpentine fashion, however Wright has no combat training, and in the absence of that, his brain fell back on the most relevant training he could remember.
As one of the Marines with Wright said "if you think you will rise to the occasion, you are wrong . . . under combat stress, you fall back to your last level of competent training, you never rise to the occasion."
So, anyway, yeah: the TL;DR version
is simply that the issue-focused method worked great for me. Other methods may work better for others, but all that really matters is that you habituate some process for writing the essays, because under all the pressure of test day, you will almost certainly not rise to the occasion.